The Platinum Card from American Express Review: A Prestigious Card With Perks Galore

Earning lucrative rewards and gaining access to upgraded travel benefits comes at a cost with this original luxury card.
Last updated May 19, 2020 | By Sarah Li Cain

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Fancy yourself a new card with luxurious perks? Then the Platinum Card from American Express might be just what you’re looking for. Armed with a whole host of benefits and a generous welcome offer, this card offers major value for frequent travelers.

However, it does come at a cost, and you might be wondering if it’s worth the high annual fee. Read our Amex Platinum credit card review before applying to learn about the benefits, drawbacks, and who this card is best suited for.

Best Luxury Travel Benefits

Benefits

  • 60,000 Membership Rewards point welcome offer
  • 5X points on eligible flights and hotels
  • $15 in free U.S. Uber rides each month ($20 in December)
  • $200 airline fee credit each year
  • Access to Centurion and Priority Pass airport lounges
  • Terms apply

Drawbacks

  • High annual fee
  • Airline fee credit limited to one airline per year

In this Amex Platinum card review:

Who should get the Amex Platinum?

Those who want the ultimate luxury travel experience may benefit most from the Platinum Card from American Express. Sure, you can earn points toward free travel, but that’s not the only thing that makes the charge card so prestigious.

What you get on top of earning points is upgraded access and lucrative credits on offer. Instead of it just being about free travel, cardholders can also gain access to upscale travel experiences that might be out of reach for non-cardholders.

For instance, you could skip the standard hotel room and instead unlock more than $500 worth of upgrades at over 1,000 luxury hotels through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts. Or, you could make the airport less of a hassle by ducking into a Centurion Lounge to take a short nap and fill up on complimentary food and beverages.

The point being — if you can take advantage of enough Amex Platinum benefits, you could offset the $550 annual fee. If, however, you’re an occasional traveler who tends to lean more toward budget-friendly travel, you may want to consider a different card.

Card basics

Card type Travel
Card issuer
American Express
Annual fee
$550
Welcome offer Earn 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
Reward rate Up to 5X points
Recommended credit score Excellent, Good
Foreign transaction fee None


Amex Platinum benefits & perks

The Amex Platinum Card offers a slew of valuable benefits that are hard to beat when it comes to traveling in style. Here’s what if offers at a glance:

  • Generous welcome offer: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months.
  • Earn rewards for flights and hotels: 5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare and hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
  • Annual credits: Each calendar year, receive up to $200 in Uber credits for U.S. rides, $200 in statement credits for airline fees, $100 statement credit for Saks Fifth Avenue purchases, and up to $100 in hotel credits on qualifying charges at select hotels.
  • Access to airport lounges: Enjoy more than 1,200 airport lounge locations in over 130 countries through the American Express Global Lounge Collection.
  • Gold Elite Status with the Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors programs: Perks for both these hotel programs include complimentary room upgrades, early check-in, and late checkout.
  • Uber VIP status: You could also get Uber VIP status with this card, depending on where you live. This perk will get you matched with 5-star Uber drivers for the best possible rideshare experience.
  • Travel benefits to give you peace of mind: Get a statement credit for either a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application every 4.5 or 4 years, respectively. Cardholders also receive perks such as secondary coverage rental car insurance, travel accident insurance, and 24/7 access to the Premium Global Assist Hotline. 
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance: Starting Jan. 1, 2020, if your flight is canceled because of sudden illness, inclement weather, jury duty, or even terrorist activities, you’ll now be entitled to up to $10,000 of reimbursement.
  • Trip delay insurance: Starting Jan. 1, 2020, if your flight is delayed more than 6 hours, you can also be reimbursed for up to $500 in unexpected expenses per trip.

Drawbacks of the Amex Platinum card

While this card does offer tremendous value for frequent travelers, it does come with some drawbacks as well:

  • High annual fee: The Amex Platinum has an annual fee of $550, which is on the higher side. If you don't travel enough to offset this cost, a different card might be a better option for you.
  • Limited Uber credit: While you do get up to $200 in Uber credit with this card, this credit is only valid for U.S. rides.
  • Limited airline fee credit: The $200 annual airline fee credit is limited to one airline per year.

Earning & redeeming American Express Membership Rewards

When you spend with your Platinum card, you earn Amex Membership Rewards points. If you’re a regular traveler who likes to pay for quality and wants to reap the benefits, you can maximize your earning potential by using your card to book flights and prepaid hotels, since you’ll earn up to 5X points per dollar.

When it comes to redeeming Membership Rewards, each point is worth $0.01 toward flights booked through American Express, but they could be worth less when redeemed for hotels, gift cards, or merchandise. Because of this, you may want to prioritize trading your points for air travel, since you could get more value out of your rewards.

And don’t forget to cash in on the card’s other perks. Use your Platinum Card from American Express on Uber rides and receive a $15 per month credit. Note that the credit doesn’t roll over from month to month, so you’ll want to use it or lose it by the end of each month.

You can also receive up to $100 in credits on qualifying hotel stays when you book through The Hotel Collection on American Express Travel. Plus, you get up to $200 in annual airline fee credits and $100 in statement credits for Saks Fifth Avenue purchases each year.

Potential earnings in year one

Here's a look at how your Membership Rewards points can add up with the Amex Platinum. To calculate this value, we used a point valuation of $0.01.

Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend and in which categories you spend.

Year one earnings: $585

This value is based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model which takes a look at points earned via spending, the welcome bonus, and the annual fee.

In addition to the potential earnings above, each year Amex Platinum cardholders also receive up to $200 in Uber credits for U.S. rides, $200 in statement credits for airline fees, $100 in statement credits for Saks Fifth Avenue purchases, and up to $100 in hotel credits on qualifying charges at select hotels. If you take these into account, year one value increases to $1,185. And if you take advantage of the complimentary benefits at airport lounges, that value may be even higher.

Best ways to earn

Your best bet when earning points is to do so through American Express Travel or directly with an airline. You can earn the maximum number of points per dollar with prepaid hotels or flights.

Flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel 5X
Prepaid hotels booked on AmexTravel.com 5X
All other qualifying purchases 1X

Maximizing your redemptions

To maximize your redemptions, consider using your points to book travel. Each point is worth $0.01 when booking flights through American Express Travel. You can even transfer your points to a participating airline or hotel’s loyalty program. Depending on the exact program you move your points to, you may be able to make them stretch further with this strategy.

Don’t forget, you can also receive a $100 credit for qualifying charges through The Hotel Collection when you book via American Express. Plus, if you book at a hotel where you can take advantage of your Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors gold status, you may receive extra perks, like room upgrades and complimentary WiFi.

Amex Platinum transfer partners

If you prefer to book through another loyalty program, American Express has several airline and hotel transfer partners. Most Membership Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio, with some exceptions.

Amex Airline Transfer Partner Airline Alliance Transfer Ratio
AeroMexico SkyTeam 1:1.6
Air Canada Star Alliance 1:1
Alitalia SkyTeam 1:1
Aer Lingus N/A 1:1
Air France SkyTeam 1:1
All Nippon Airways Star Alliance 1:1
Avianca LifeMiles Star Alliance 1:1
British Airways Oneworld Alliance 1:1
Delta Air Lines SkyTeam 1:1
EL AL Israel Airlines N/A 50:1
Emirates N/A 1:1
Etihad Airways N/A 1:1
Hawaiian Airlines N/A 1:1
Iberia Plus Oneworld Alliance 1:1
JetBlue Airways N/A 5:4
Singapore Airlines Star Alliance 1:1
Qantas Airlines Oneworld Alliance 1:1
Virgin Atlantic Airways N/A 1:1

If you want to use your Amex Membership Rewards points to pay for a hotel room, you can do that as well. Amex currently partners with three hotel rewards programs.

Amex Hotel Transfer Partner Minimum Transfer Transfer Ratio
Choice Hotels 1,000 1:1
Hilton Honors 1,000 1:2
Marriott Bonvoy 1,000 1:1

Amex Platinum FAQs

What are the requirements to qualify for the American Express Platinum card?

American Express doesn’t officially state the exact requirements on their website to qualify — except that you need to be 18 years old and a U.S resident — but it’s safe to assume you’ll need good or excellent credit to qualify.

You’ll also want to make sure you can comfortably afford the high annual fee. When filling out the application, include all of your income sources so you can prove to American Express that you’re able to responsibly cover the fees for the card.

What lounges can I use with my American Express Platinum card?

You can access the Centurion Lounge with locations in Dallas, Fort Worth, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle. Additional lounges include Delta Sky Clubs, Escape Lounges, International American Express Lounges, and Priority Pass Select lounges.

How do the Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy gold statuses work?

Once you’re a Platinum Card from American Express cardholder, you can request enrollment with Marriott Bonvoy and the Hilton Honors program. You can maintain your gold status as long as you’re still an American Express cardmember unless terms and conditions change.

The Hilton Honors program provides its gold members with perks such as complimentary breakfast, room upgrades, late checkout, and the ability to earn elite-tiered bonus points. The Marriott Bonvoy gold status also gives you benefits such as late checkout, free room upgrades, and bonus points earned with every stay.

How do I use the American Express Platinum airline fee credit?

You’ll choose one qualifying airline on the American Express website — with airlines including American Airlines, JetBlue Airways, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, and more — and you’ll receive your credit when you make an incidental air travel purchase separate from the airline ticket. If you’d like to switch your preference to a different qualifying airline, you’ll be able to do so once per year.

Other cards to consider

The Platinum Card from American Express takes luxury travel to a new level, but if you don’t think you can maximize the travel rewards and upgrades to offset the annual fee, you may want to consider some alternatives. 

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card has a lower annual fee, a $300 statement credit for travel, and valuable redemption options, so you can still have that luxurious travel experience you may be looking for. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is also a worthwhile alternative for the avid traveler and food lover. Earning rewards is just as simple as it is with the Sapphire Reserve and both of these premium rewards credit cards offer a killer sign-up bonus to help jump start your travels — but with a significantly lower annual fee than the Platinum Card from American Express.

Best Luxury Travel Benefits

See how these cards compare:

Chase Sapphire Reserve
Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • 50,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 3X points on travel and at restaurants
  • 5x points on grocery purchases — up to $1,500 per month (ends June 30, 2020)
  • $60 annual DoorDash credit in 2020 and 2021
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • 60,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 2X points on eligible dining and travel purchases
  • 3x points on grocery purchases — up to $1,500 per month (ends June 30, 2020)
  • 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Premium travel protection benefits